Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images
Giants.com senior writer Michael Eisen interviewed Eli Manning for a story on the quarterback’s thoughts on the upcoming season. The 34-year old Manning will be entering his 12th season, and second under Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo’s West Coast Offense-based system.
Manning finished the season with 4,410 yards (second-highest total in his career and in franchise history), 30 touchdowns (one shy of his career-high in 2011), and 14 interceptions (13 fewer than he threw in 2013). Manning’s completion percentage (63.1) was a career-high. His passer rating of 92.1 was the second-highest of highest of his career (93.1 in 2009).
“I’m excited about this upcoming season,” said Manning. “Last year during the offseason, I was coming off an injury and going into a situation with new coaches. And the way the (Collective Bargaining Agreement) works now, you don’t get much, if any, communication with the coaches. There were a lot of uncertainties and I didn’t know how quickly I would heal. I had to learn a new system and new mechanics. There was a lot of anxiousness.
“This year I feel great about the system. My body feels good. I am excited about coming in and knowing what I need to improve on and make strides in, rather than learning a complete new system. I have been working hard and looking at some stuff from last year and keeping the plays fresh and in my head. I’m trying to keep it all fresh in my mind and I am excited about getting back.
“This year will be a much easier transition, knowing that we have been through so much of it already. It’s definitely a different starting point. I feel good about it. I feel that I have a good understanding of it, but there is still room to grow and that is why I try to keep it as fresh in my mind as possible. Looking at old game-plan sheets and calling plays in my head – throwing routes with receivers trying to call out plays to myself, so you don’t let it slip away. It was new last year and it wasn’t something I have been doing for 10 years, so you want to keep it fresh and go through your reminders and all your checks. So when we come back I haven’t taken a step backwards and have to re-learn things. It is still all there. There will be new stuff and we will be taking it to another level.
“I’m not pleased with the amounts of wins (last year). That is the important thing. There are still some situations that we need to get better at and that I need to improve on and, as an offense, we need to improve on. (We need to make sure) we are taking care of what needs to be done during the course of the game to put us in a situation to win, or if we got opportunities in the fourth quarter, to be at our best and win our games in those situations. There is definitely still some room for improvement, but I feel good that I can play at a high level in this system and can definitely make improvements and we can win a lot of games and play a lot better this year.”
Manning also addressed the following topics:
- How he physically approaches the offseason: “Your arm needs rest and your body needs rest. I didn’t start throwing again until mid-February. Just to keep the arm in shape and making sure it has all the strength and everything that it needs when we get back in April. As I get older, I take less time off, especially from my workouts and my conditioning (because) it is harder to get back into shape. It takes a little longer to get your strength back up. Take two weeks off, but even then I still enjoy the workout part of it. It is still exercising and moving around just to keep loose.”
- How he reviews his play from the previous season: “I look at everything. I look at games to see situations we need to improve on, whether it is a two-minute before a half or it is a red-zone or try to analyze certain games (to see) if there is a common trend we need to improve on from aspects of circumstances of the game. Then look a lot of cut-ups of the same play. If it is a play you ran 20 times in a season, you’re seeing trends, what coverages it worked well against. Why it had success or why it didn’t have success. So you can learn from those and get a great feel for it going into the season.”
- Wide Receivers Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz: “The good thing about having guys that are smart and versatile is that you can move them around in different positions. Victor and Odell can do a lot of the same things. The more guys you can have that are great athletes, the more you want to try to get the ball in their hands. You can change up formations, you can move them inside or outside. Victor can play outside, he can play in the slot. Odell can do both of those things, so I think that is an advantage to us. You can run similar plays or the same play, but having different guys do it disguises things.”
- Running Back Shane Vereen: “I have talked to Shane a little bit and I have seen him play over the years in New England. He is very versatile. He can catch the ball well out of the backfield, run routes very well (when he is) split outside and he runs the ball well when you use him as a running back. I think it gets you excited because you can use him in a lot of different ways and move him around and create mismatches.”